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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Mar 13. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly047. [Epub ahead of print]

Relationship of Physical Function to Single Muscle Fiber Contractility in Older Adults: Effects of Resistance Training with and without Caloric Restriction.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
J Paul Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Neuroscience Program of Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



Previous studies support beneficial effects of both resistance exercise training (RT) and caloric restriction (CR) on skeletal muscle strength and physical performance. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of adding CR to RT on single-muscle fiber contractility responses to RT in older overweight and obese adults.


We analyzed contractile properties in 1,253 single myofiber from muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis, as well as physical performance and thigh muscle volume, in 31 older (65-80 yrs), overweight or obese (body mass index= 27-35 kg/m2) men (n=19) and women (n=12) who were randomly assigned to a standardized, progressive RT intervention with CR (RT+CR; n=15) or without CR (RT; n=16) for 5 months.


Both interventions evoked an increase in force normalized to CSA, in type-I and type-II fibers and knee extensor quality. However, these improvements were not different between intervention groups. In the RT group, changes in total thigh fat volume inversely correlated with changes in type-II fiber force (r = -0.691; p=0.019). Within the RT+CR group, changes in gait speed correlated positively with changes in type-I fiber CSA (r=0.561; p=0.030). In addition, increases in type-I normalized fiber force were related to decreases in thigh intermuscular fat volume (r= -0.539; p= 0.038).


Single muscle fiber force and knee extensor quality improve with RT and RT+CR; however, CR does not enhance improvements in single muscle fiber contractility or whole muscle in response to RT in older overweight and obese men and women.


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